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The combined forces of the Autobots and Decepticons must battle both Megatron and Galvatron to save the present and the future from a rift in space and time.
In the year 2009, a time rift has destroyed the planet Quintesson and is now threatening to consume both Earth and Cybertron. Analysing the source of the disturbance, they find the source of the rift to be the year 1989. They correctly deduce that Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge are somehow the cause. In an attempt to solve the problem, a small group of Autobots travel back in time to 1989.
In 1989, the rift is also threatening modern day Earth, causing natural disasters. An earthquake awakens Ravage, who has lain inactive since falling down a mine shaft.He attempts to escape back to the surface, but instead discovers the underground base of Galvatron.
Optimus Prime is giving a briefing to the other Autobots, in which he outlines his belief that the time storm is related to Galvatron. Meanwhile, outside the Ark, Highbrow is fretting over what to do with the head of Scorponok that he had captured.He wishes to end the threat of Scorponok, but is unwilling to kill him in cold blood.
Before he can make a decision, he is attacked by the Decepticon Headmasters and Targetmasters in an attempt to recover the head. They capture the head, but before they can destroy Highbrow, the other Autobots come to his rescue and a major battle ensues.
In the midst of the battle, the future Autobots arrive, causing Optimus Prime, Hardhead, Highbrow, Blaster, Brainstorm and Snarl to be transported to the holding dimension as part of the time travel process. Thinking their friends have been killed by the newcomers, Fortress Maximus leads an attack on the future Autobots.
At the same time, a spacecraft from Cybertron arrives on Earth carrying the combined forces of the Autobot Wreckers and the Decepticon Mayhem Attack Squad. They have joined forces in an attempt to force Galvatron to return to his own time.
The Autobot battle is eventually stopped when Goldbug, who has seen the results of time travel before& and believes the newcomers are friends, is injured. Using the Creation Matrix that resides in both Optimus and Rodimus Prime, the present and future leaders are able to communicate with each other and resolve the battle peacefully.
The Wreckers and the Mayhem Attack Squad meanwhile enter Galvatron’s base and confront the future Decepticon. They are shocked to discover, however, that Galvatron and Megatron have now joined forces. The two of them soon leave the ranks of the Wreckers and Mayhem Attack Squad decimated, forcing them to retreat and regroup.
Optimus Prime is explaining that the rift is caused by Cyclonus and Scourge being in the present because they bypassed the usual mass transfer system when they travelled back in time using Unicron's time portal.As a result, the balance of space time has been upset. The situation has been made worse by Cyclonus's death twenty years before his creation. They deduce that if Cyclonus and Scourge are returned to the future, the rift will seal itself.
Galvatron and Megatron follow the Wreckers and the Mayhem Attack Squad and continue the battle outside, bringing the other Autobots into the fray. Galvatron has now become totally insane and is fighting blindly and slaughtering all in his path.
Scourge, who is beginning to have doubts about his alliance with Galvatron, decides to take action and flies to the Decepticon fortress to retrieve Cyclonus's body. There, he finds Shockwave in a state of mental breakdown after learningthat he is due to die at Cyclonus and Scourge's hands in 2008. Unwilling to let Scourge take Cyclonus's body, he blasts the future Decepticon unconscious.
The battle with Galvatron is going badly and all are falling before him. Half his face has been blasted off in events that are different from how he remembers them as Megatron, pushing him even further from sanity at the same time as changing the course of history. Optimus Prime, trapped in the limbo dimension, can only watch through the Matrix link. As the Autobots continue to fall, however, he decides to take drastic action and uses the power of the Matrix to return to reality and confront Galvatron. However, because he is now in the same period as Rodimus Prime, also the bearer of the Matrix, the effects of the time rift increase.
Scourge, recovering, appeals to Ravage to get Cyclonus's body, and wanting the madness to end, staggers towards the rift. Ravage manages to convince Shockwave that because he has foreknowledge, he has time to prevent his fate. This snaps Shockwave from his mental decline.
Galvatron, still fighting madly, begins to confuse his memories of beating Optimus Prime with reality. Optimus Prime manages to beat him down and the other Autobots fire on him but the time rift is already upon them. Galvatron stands before it defiantly and the time rift rips him apart. However, the rift continues to worsen as it needs Cyclonus and Scourge as well. Just as the rift is about to rip the Earth apart, Scourge sacrifices himself and then Shockwave arrives and throws the body of Cyclonus into the rift, causing it to close itself.
The future Autobots return to their own time, pledging to destroy all their time machines. Optimus Prime and Shockwave agree to a truce until they next meet.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- The first page of issue 201 was originally printed with the wrong colours. This was corrected in the subsequent Collected Comics and Titan Books reprints.
- While in limbo, Optimus Prime uses the Matrix to communicate with the Autobots and view the battle. However, it is later revealed in Deathbringer (a UK-exclusive story) and Matrix Quest that the Matrix was blasted off into space along with Optimus Prime's body. Thus, he should not be in possession of it in Time Wars. However, given the quasi-mystical nature of the Matrix, it's not impossible that there is some explanation for this.
- The future Decepticons don't really add anything to the story. They just turn up, watch for a bit and then leave.
- Similarly, what's left of the Wreckers and the Mayhem Attack Squad, having been key characters for much of the story, simply disappear in the closing stages, shunted aside by the big names. The same happens to the rank-and-file present day Autobots such as Wheeljack and Scattershot.
- The "present" Autobots should recognise most of the "future" Autobots - Kup and Blurr, for example, are among their current forces on the Ark. Kinda lucky they didn't make the trip to Earth, really... They should probably recognise Ultra Magnus and Rodimus Prime (he looks just like Hot Rod, after all) as well, and maybe even Red Alert.
- Similarly isn't it lucky that Scorponok didn't bring the present day Terrorcons with him?
- The Wrecker/Mayhem strategy is laughable - they simply walk into Galvatron's base, arguing loudly.
- The nature of Goldbug's injury shifts all over the place - he's shot in the shoulder by Misfire, but then has a critical chest injury by the time Magnus finds him. His dramatic turn done with, his life-threatening wound reverts to being a shoulder injury that Hoist patches up in three seconds flat.
- Where does Fracas go?
- Optimus Prime can not be beaten so easily by a half-faced Galvatron.
Items of note
- This marks the end of the story arc that began 121 issues ago in "Target 2006".
- This was the last of the UK comic's 'epic' storylines. By issue 213 falling sales meant that the page count of the UK originated strip was reduced from 11 to 6. The constant threat of the comic's cancellation meant that Simon Furman kept the story arcs limited to a few issues at most.
- Cyclonus was killed in issue 189 "Dry Run".
- Here Ravage recovers from his fall down a mine shaft after a battle with Skids in issue 72-73 "Showdown" (US issue 20).
- Finally, Galvatron stays dead. Hard to miraculously recover from being erased from history.
- Reprinted as a Trade Paperback by Titan Books in July 2003.